The Tampa Bay Buccaneers news’ this past offseason was something else, acquiring Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski from the New England Patriots dynasty. Almost overnight, they went from an oft-forgotten team to a serious playoff contender, with all eyes on them to make a serious Super Bowl push.
As they continue to make waves in the NFL, this column will be updated every week to reflect Tampa Bay Buccaneers news throughout the remainder of the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers news: Week 12 postgame notes
For the first time in a long time, Tom Brady suffered three consecutive losses at home. Mistakes in the first half seemed to have cost the Buccaneers the game. Some of the problems can be accounted for by the fact that Chris Godwin is playing through injury, but a 7-5 record surely isn’t something the Buccaneers’ legendary quarterback is proud of.
The defense played well, sure, and Tampa Bay is headed into a much-needed bye week, where the team can hopefully rest up from injuries. They have four games left that are, by all accounts, winnable, and winning even three gives them a 10-6 record. That would certainly good enough for the playoffs. It would be the team’s best record since 2010. And Bruce Arians all but said the team would be led by the defense, even though he admits they had a bit of trouble with Patrick Mahomes.
“Hindsight’s always 20-20 – the zone coverage, they were hitting a little bit in RPOs (run-pass options), so you’ve got to pick your poison with that guy,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “I was really proud – I thought the defense adjusted really well in the second half.”
Arians had some different thoughts about the offense, though.
“They did a good job of audibling when we showed man-to-man, bump-and-run to hit a couple screens,” said Arians. “The rest were just short routes that we didn’t make the tackle. This was not getting fast enough home for a guy running an out-and-up, and to have a safety closer to help. But yeah, we have to start games faster defensively. That was a big emphasis all week, and even the night before the game in talking to them. I said the same thing offensively. We’ve got to convert those early third downs and get some scores like we did earlier in the season.”
Buccaneers news: Good deeds, injury updates
Off the field, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made headlines this week for inviting exoneree Robert DuBoise to their Week 11 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. DuBoise has lived in Tampa since he was released from prison in August after he spent 37 years in jail for a crime he did not commit. Monday night marked his first ever NFL game. The Buccaneers existed for a mere 7 seasons at the time of DuBoise’s 1983 conviction, and Raymond James Stadium would not open its doors for 15 years. Now, finally free, he got to see a 6-time Super Bowl champion play for his home team, and cheer him on in the stands.
Headed into a tough Week 12 matchup against the defending champions in the Kansas City Chiefs, though, Tampa Bay has to focus on the field. They were dealt a few blows, as starting cornerback Jamel Dean was ruled out with a concussion. C.A.Q Shipley was also ruled out with a neck injury, and Tanner Hudson also will not play.
Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet have been listed as questionable, and Smith will undergo tests Sunday morning to see if his currently injured ankle is good enough to play on. Marpet has practiced fully for the past 3 weeks, but has yet to clear concussion protocol.
Of note, Jason Pierre-Paul did not participate in practice to rest a knee injury, and Ndamukong Suh missed practice on November 27 for reasons not related to injury.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers news: Week 11 postgame notes
The Week 11 loss to the Los Angeles Rams marked yet another week that Antonio Brown did not record a touchdown. In fact, he has yet to record one as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Tom Brady didn’t put up the numbers he usually does, either. There was a notable slip in his statistics this week, but he still managed to surpass Drew Brees (again) for the most passing touchdowns of all time (565), and joined Peyton Manning as the only players in NFL history with 15+ seasons with 25+ touchdowns.
The bright spot, of course, was Mike Evans, who scored an incredible touchdown to open Tampa Bay’s scoring. He’s on the verge of his third season with double-digit touchdowns, and is currently tied for the fifth-highest single-season touchdown total in Buccaneer history. He also holds the franchise’s single-season record with 12 scoring catches, a total he hit in both 2014 and 2016.
Ryan Succop kicked for six points against the Rams, which allowed him to maintain top spot for points among kickers this season. He now has a total of 96, and second place Daniel Carson of the Las Vegas Raiders has 94.
Buccaneers news: Antonio Brown
Just ahead of Week 10’s Monday Night Football matchup, news broke that Antonio Brown had been involved in yet another incident. On October 15, two weeks before he signed with the Buccaneers, Brown allegedly destroyed a security camera in his gated community in Hollywood, Florida, and threw a bicycle at a security guard shack. The Miami Herald obtained and published police reports that suggested police had cause to charge him with misdemeanor criminal mischief if the homeowner’s association president decided to press charges. The president declined, the report said, because she was afraid Brown may retaliate against her employees.
Brown made a statement through his spokesperson:
antonio brown “regrets that he lost his cool that day and he has made amends with the HOA. However, he is rightly concerned that he is routinely targeted by some people for mistreatment and undue scrutiny because he is Antonio Brown. He wants to be a good neighbor, good citizen and a good teammate.’’
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, of course, also made a statement:
“We are aware of the reported incident involving Antonio Brown prior to his signing. When Antonio joined us, we were clear about what we expected and required of him. Thus far, he has met all the expectations we have in place.”
Brown, of course, has a string of incidents in his history. There is a civil lawsuit pending against him for rape and sexual assault, and he is currently serving 2 years probation for a battery charge that also saw him suspended for the first 8 games of the season. He pleaded no contest to the charges.
As per standard procedure, the NFL is reviewing the incident at Brown’s Hollywood, Florida home.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers news: Week 10 postgame notes
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled out a huge 46-23 victory against the Carolina Panthers, putting on a clinic to make up for their big Week 9 loss against the rival New Orleans Saints. Ronald Jones had a huge 98-yard rushing touchdown off of a fumble. Brady threw three touchdowns. Offense came from everywhere. There isn’t much to nitpick.
If I had to gripe, though, I would note that I still am not getting what I expected from Antonio Brown. Sure, he caught 7-of-8 targets, but they only added up to 69 yards. That’s far from a difference-making statistic from a receiver who’s touted as one of the best ever. Sure, he needs some time to shake the rust off. But if he is going to be the final piece of the puzzle that takes the team to the Super Bowl, Brown will need to shake cobwebs off. Fast.
Buccaneers news: Week 10 game report
After a brutal loss to the division-rival New Orleans Saints, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are looking to recover. They take on the Carolina Panthers, who will have to play without running back Christian McCaffrey again.
We all heard the post-game stats. It was arguably the worst game of Brady’s entire career. He hasn’t given up three interceptions since 2011, had never lost by 35 before and he handed Drew Brees the honor of being the first quarterback to beat him twice in one season. After the loss, Bruce Arians told reporters that the team needs to “learn from it.” Own it, he said. “That’s the beauty for players and coaches – it’s a 24-hour thing. You get to look at it, grade it and then you move on.”
Headed into their matchup against the Panthers, though, the Buccaneers will need to leave all of that behind. This season, they rebounded from their previous two losses (against the Saints in Week 1 and the Chicago Bears in Week 5) with three-game winning streaks. Their defense is still ranked ninth in the league and their passing is still rated seventh. They will need to rely heavily on Gronkowski, Jason Pierre-Paul and Tom Brady for a leadership mentality. The Bucs will also need a huge game from Antonio Brown who, frankly, barely made a blip in his debut against the Saints.
Related: NFL Week 10 schedule, predictions
Teddy Bridgewater is playing extremely well for the Panthers. Mike Davis proved he can handle his own, stepping in and playing solid football after McCaffrey went down in Week 2. So far this season, Davis rushed for 353 yards and two touchdowns. He is averaging 4.2 yards per carry, and has racked up 43 catches for 278 yards and two receiving touchdowns. Only the Saints’ running back Alvin Kamara has more receptions than Mike Davis. Look for the Buccaneers’ defense to pay extra attention to him this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers news: Week 10 roster report
The Buccaneers protected the same three players on their practice squad from being signed away this week. Kicker Greg Joseph, defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter and guard John Molchon are all safe from league poaching.
Joseph has been protected every week since the season began. Ledbetter has been protected five weeks in a row. Meanwhile, Molchon has been protected for the last two weeks, since he came off of injured reserve.
The practice squad protection rule is new to the league this year, implemented over the summer when the CBA had to be changed to accommodate the pandemic.